Elements, James Wood fail to stop Warren County

WINCHESTER – Neither rain nor threat of lightening, nor a delayed halftime could stop Warren County High School’s football team from making its rounds Friday night.

The Wildcats (1-1) rebounded from losing to one Winchester 4A team by knocking off another at Jerry L. Kelican Stadium with a 16-7 victory over James Wood (1-2) in a murky game that lasted more than three hours.

The possibility of lightening delayed a halftime show where the latest class in James Wood’s athletic hall of fame was announced at intermission. Then it rained for a bit.

Still Warren, which lost to Handley 29-2 two weeks ago at the latter’s bowl, would not bend.

“Well, certainly that (Handley) wasn’t our best game and we knew that. But we came in and practiced hard for two weeks. The last few days have been great for practice and we proved it tonight,” said head Wildcat Steve Crist, after he had cart-wheeled into a waiting band of gray-clad Wildcats.

“We didn’t want to lose. We didn’t want to go through another week of practice after a loss,” said WC quarterback R.J. Kenney.

Certainly the chance of lightening and rain couldn’t stop the 3A school from Front Royal, and James Wood’s offense did little to get in the way.

“Our defense played tremendously,” said Crist. “We were really getting after it out there.”

In the end, James Wood rushed for just 68 yards due to bad snap and sacks against Colonel QB Dade Carroll. Carroll rushed forward or ran backward to receive snaps that sailed over his head to the tune of minus-47 yards.

The Colonels threw for 62 more.

“Our defense? What can you say? They played lights out,” said Kenney.

Warren County squandered several scoring opportunities in the first half, but the Wildcats were the only ones on the scoreboard at 3-0. It was a Stuart Ashley 33-yard field goal with 2:44 left in the half that made the difference.

The Wildcats struck for the first of three ventures deep into James Wood territory on their first possession of the game.

Having won the toss, they elected to receive. With Cameron Ford opening the game at quarterback, the offense clicked along, strengthened by three first downs. The deepest penetration was to the Colonel 17, but a false start moved the ball back 5 yards.

On fourth-and-17, Ashley came in but his boot went wide right.

When Warren got the ball again, Crist decided to go-for-it on fourth-and-10, but Keeney’s pass slipped through the hands of his intended receiver into those of Joshua Kesner, who made the first of two interceptions for the half.

Freshman sensation William Crowder made his first run, which was fortified by a horse-collar tackling penalty on Warren County. A pass from James Wood’s Carroll found its mark for a 9-yard gain to the 15.

A delay penalty against the Colonels moved the ball to the 20. This time it was James Wood kicker Jacob Sortino whose boot finished wide to the right. This effort was of 36 yards.

Unofficially, James Wood finished the first quarter with no first downs.

Ford made the first of two sterling punt returns in the second quarter.

He fielded the first at the James Wood 35 and returned it to the 20. The ensuing Warren drive could have ended up with a TD, but a holding call on the Wildcats nullified what would have been a pass for a TD. On the next play, Keeney put it up for grabs and Kesner came down with his second INT.

Again, Ford rebounded with another return when James Wood gave up the ball on downs. He carried from the James Wood 46 and rumbled to its 12.

Back-to-back fumbles ensued with each team recovering the other’s.

Brett Dickerson was on the spot for the Wildcats as he fell on the ball at the Colonels’ 10 and the visitors settled for a field goal, the only points of the half.

Halftime ceremonies on Hall of Fame night were delayed by 30 minutes due to lightening.

Warren County got on the scoreboard on its first possession of the second half. First, James Wood got to the Warren 20, but ran out of downs.

The Wildcats were only too happy to comply. On the second first down of the drive, Keeney found 6-foot-5 Brendan McMackin to the quarterback’s right. The rangy wide receiver hauled in the ball, then cut back across the grain. He finished his 78-yard touchdown run of his fans on the visitors’ side. Ashley’s kick made it 10-0 with 5:29 left in the third quarter.

“It’s a set pass play and he made a great move to get back to his left and shed tacklers. But the blocking was out there before him. It was beautiful,” said Kenney.

“It wasn’t just (McMackin), it was everybody who made that play,” said Crist.

The Colonels put together their best offensive possession of the night to start the fourth quarter.

Crowder, who rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown a week ago in a James Wood victory, picked up 11, then Carroll hit a slant pass for 10.

Three straight running plays took the ball to the Warren 40 and then a screen to Ryan Rupp carried down to the 29.

An end-around by Crowder and an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Wildcats gave the Colonels the ball on the 12. On first and goal Isaac Schrantz carried over from the 2. Sortino’s kick made it 10-7 Warren County.

A third quality punt return by Cam Ford, chosen Warren County’s player of the game by the James Wood officials, carried to the 28. Ronald Dodson popped a run to the 3. Then did the TD job himself. The extra-point failed.

James Wood had less than three minutes and could not score.

Wildcats 16, Colonels 7

Warren County 0  3    7    6–16

James Wood 0 0    0    7–7

Second quarter

WC-Ashley 33 field goal


Third quarter

WC-McMackin 78 pass from Kenney (kick good)




Fourth quarter

JW-Schrantz 2 run (kick good)

WC-Dodson 3 run (kick failed)


First downs 10 10

Rushing yards 116 68

Passing yards 160 62

Passing 9-19-1-2 6-12-0-0

Penalties-yards 11-88 7-33

Fumbles-lost 3-1 4-1

Punts-Avg. 2-41 5-32


WC-Keeney 8-12, Ford 2-15, Dodson 9-56, Petitt 2-33, Guerrero 1-8

JW-Schrantz 7-16, Carroll 6-(minus) 47, DeHaven 1-(minus) 1, Cisler 11-29, Crowder 8-61


WC-Kenney 7-15-1-2, 147 yards; Ford 2-4, 13

JW-Carroll 6-12-0-0, 62


WC-Ford 1-9, Haley 2-13, McMackin 4-115

JW-Bearer 2-18, Rupp 2-38, Costin 2-17

Contact Jim Laise at sports@nvdaily.com